The competition Day 1 had a pretty tough agenda, featuring two preliminary free sessions - for 32 solo-contestants and 27 teams. Favorites revealed their winning intentions early in the beginning, performing strong programs in both events. Ever strong Russian side set the bar high in the morning, whereas in the afternoon, they faced a tough opposition of Ukraine, Spain and Asian competitors.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

SOLO: Kirsanova arguably the best in the prelims

Daria Kirsanova of Russia swam to the lead in the solo preliminaries, shaking off the expectation of being Russian poster girl. She delivered a tremendous winter-theme program, which married the music of Astor Piazzola and Antonio Vivaldi. Appearing entirely focused and confident, the Russian prodigy performed a complex routine of rare precision and power. Choreography, the choice of music and the costumes all have been a choice of her coach and mother - 3-time Olympic, 2-time world, and 9-time European champion Maria Kiseleva.

“It’s an interesting and difficult experience to coach your own daughter, - confessed Maria after the swim. – She is hardworking, but I am very demanding, too. It is our international debut, and up to know, I can say, that everything goes well. She earned a total of 86.5668 points with 34.6668 points on the artistic impression. It’s a little unusual for Daria to swim in the outdoor venue, because in Russia we are not used to it. We are first heading into the finals, but we try to abstract of the ranking as much as possible”.

Anastasiia Soldatenkova of Ukraine is currently second, amassing 84.3332 points, split in 25.5000 for the execution, 33.7332 – on the artistic impression, and 25.1000 – on the difficulty. She presented to the public her version of “Adiemus” - the program, staged by Olesya Zaitseva and Svetlana Saidova for the Ukraine star Marta Fiedina, pocketing silver last year at the FINA Junior Worlds in Budapest.

“The program is very beautiful and we liked it a lot, - commented on the swimmer. – Although it is rather technical, the high scoring shows that we’re on the right track. However, it is too early to celebrate. The finals and the Figure session are ahead of us, and our anticipation is getting stronger and stronger”.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

Alba Garcia of Spain narrated a “Romeo and Julliet” story to seal the top three most successful programs, 81.2332 points. In fact, Virginia Villabla Lopez and Florencia Rodrigo Bazzoni coached swimmer narrowly edged out Italian Susanna Pedotti with her “Toxic” performance, posting a very similar overall of 81.1332.

One could hardly recognize a Britney Spears’ song as “Sette Rossa” swam to the epic cover version of the hit, though one should admit, that the music’s sized up tempo fit the intense choreography of the Italian’s free portion. Especially difficult for the swimmer was to perform Barracuda at start, and then keep up the tempo.

“I am a little out of breath, but I am happy, - shared the girl. - I loved the swimming-pool, and the public of Samorin, and the results. The overall is a little lower which I got this August at COMEN Cup. I think this shows I am in good shape and I am determined to be even better in the final”.

“Qualifying to the final is very important. It is my current aim, and I am happy I have managed to fulfil half of the task set. My coaches seem to be satisfied, though they rarely are, - commented in her turn Alba Garcia smiling. – I think that the outdoor swimming pool was an advantage for me as in Spain we are used to train in the open air”.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

The fifth best was Japanese Kyono Nakaita with her “Opera” program, 80.9668 points, followed by “Sleeping beauty” of Yan Feixue of China, 80.7668, and “Goddess of Darkness” by Korean Yoonseo Hur, 78.6338. The other nations nested close to the final berth positions included Greece, France, USA and Germany, all posting over 75.3332 points.

Slovakian senior national team member Chiara Diky is currently 14th, 74.4332, and Hungarian Buella Kinga goes 18th on 71.7000 for a free solo portion which saw light 7 days ago.

Noteworthy, that the 32-soloists queue of the FINA World Artistic Swimming Championships was proud to register new faces in the family: Barbados, Iceland and Costa Rica. It was symbolically that Anna Mitinian-Diakov of Costa Rica opened the contest which also commemorated her own and her nation’s debut at the international youth competitions, and Gracie Foster, representing Barbados sealed the Solo Free Preliminary contest. Both programs have been presented artistically strong, producing 63.2000 and 59.8332 points respectively.

“Ranking matters, but not so much for us at the moment, the main thing we are here and do compete, - explains coach Olga Diakova. - Definitely our aim is to gain experiences. This is a priceless opportunity to compete, and to see others competing. Of course, marks matter as they show us the right direction to work”.

TEAM PRELIMINARY: Russia grabs narrow lead

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

Russia kept on dominating in the afternoon session, however their leadership did not seem overwhelming. Violetta Evenko, Daria Kirsanova, Polina Lartseva, Diana Mirgazizova, Daria Ogorodnikova, Aleksandra Prudius, Anna Sokolova and Eva Zelenko brought fire and life to dolls and were very happy to get pretty high marks – 86.4332 points, with awesome 26.1000 points for execution, 26.2000 for difficulty and 34.1332 for the artistic impression. According to the girls, the program was rather complicated to perform. Starting with an impressive thrust, it featured intensive footwork, a couple of boosts, alongside fine coverage of the swimming-pool.

“Our main concern was not to touch the bottom of the swimming-pool, - confessed Natalia Nebdygalieva, coach of the team Russia. – The depth is just 2 meters, and there are tall girls in our group, like 170 cm high. They so far children, and some of them are not apt at grouping in this or that time of the program, this is why we tried to focus to avoid unnecessary deductions”. Ukrainian “Black Panther” was very spectacular, too. They deservedly collected the second best of the day, 1.1332 points adrift to the leader.

“The program is not new, we started to work on it approximately 1 year ago, - said Valeriya Tischenko of Ukraine. We are very grateful to our coaches and choreographers. The program is definitely an ace! Our main task was to perform all the lifts, preserving good height, and I think we have succeeded. In my country we have fantastic winning traditions, so we have got a lot of role models, and we very much won to win in our turn!”

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

Reigning COMEN cup champions dressed in multi-colored swimsuits and ardently supported by Torsida swam a tropical portion of their senior team, which they showed at the FINA 2017 World Championships in Budapest and Olympic Qualification tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. They totaled 83.1668 and although ranked currently fourth, after China’s “Malicious Banquet” performance, 83.4000, Spanish girls were happy.

“We have done it!, - Spaniards were dancing on the pool-deck in a circle and hugging each other once the referees’ assessment announced.

“For everyone in my team it was a step up to make this program, to make it even more passionate and precise and clean than at the trainings. We’re very happy because we could perform it the way we wanted to and at the moment we couldn’t ask for more, - emphasized Carolina Lassaletta. – We have lost to ourselves comparing to COMEN Cup less than 0.3000, so we are positively looking into the final of 12”.

Their recent closest chasers in Geneva, “Sette Rossa” also lost to themselves of 2 weeks ago 2 points by registering 80.9668. However it was enough to stay close to the medal contenders. Their gracefulness and core-strength were very impressive, especially in the first part of the composition, as they tried to mimic the martial arts fighters.

“The amplitude of movements was very good at start, - noted Italian coach Sabrina Camino. - For the young girls it was very difficult to keep up the high tempo till the very end. Although most of the girls have been doing artistic swimming quite professionally, and they are a group for 2 years, they have not been perfectly ready for such a good physical loads”.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

The blend of Japanese music was a honey to the ears of the rising sun swimmers, who swam 15 minutes later. Swimming a solid “Avatar” performance, an energic number that reflected the adventures in one’s life, they posted the sixth sum of the day, 81.4668.

The other successful nations entering preliminary top 12 stood within 3 points. They were Greece, Kazakhstan, USA, France, Canada and Switzerland.

Interesting to note, that Irish dance of Australian girls earned them 67.8332 points only (rank #23), but they should be congratulated on passing through a stress-test as they pulled themselves together once the sound problem caught them at the pool deck. Host Slovakia, which imitated the dance of Shamans to the most original lip-made version of Uutai, is 14th after preliminaries on 74.3332 points.

The 1st FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships 2019 goes under way tomorrow, on 29 August, with the Duet and Free Combination Preliminaries. Participants of the finals in solo and teams will be decided after the Figure Session.

Competition results

1st FINA Youth World Artistic Swimming Championships

Day 1 28 August, 2019

Solo Preliminary – Free Routine:

1. Daria Kirsanova (RUS) 86.5668, 2. Anastasiia Soldatenkova (UKR) 84.3332 3. Alba Garcia (ESP) 81.2332, 4. Susanna Pedotti (ITA) 81.1332, 5. Kiyono Nakaita (JPN) 80.9668, 6. Feixue Yan (CHN) 80.7668, 7. Yoonseo Hur (KOR) 78.6332, 8. Arina Myasnikova (KAZ) 78.4332, 9. Krystalenia Gialama (GRE) 77.8000, 10. Orian Jaillardon (FRA) 77.1332, 11. Klaire Kim (USA) 76.8668, 12. Klara Bleyer (GER) 75.3332, 13. Gaia Rasmussen (SUI) 75.2000, 14. Chiara Diky (SVK) 74.4332, 15. Robyn Swatman (GBR) 74.2668 16. Matyam Mohamed Hassan Maghraby Abdalla (EGY) 72.0000, 17. Noort Reihnen (NED) 71.9332, 18. Emilia Kozma (HUN) 71.7000, 19. Valentina Strahsberger (AUT) 71.2000, 20. Zoe Poulis (AUS) 70.4000, 21. Oliwia Smektala (POL) 69.9332, 22. Antonia Mella (CHI), 23. Maria Alavidze (GEO) 67.8332, 24. Marika Brabcova (CZE) 67.6000, 25. Danna Corredor (COL) 66.7332, 26. Yue Tong Royce Soh (SGP) 65.9000, 27. Xera Vegter Maharajh (RSA) 65.7000, 28. Mia Orlovic (SRB) 63.3332, 29. Anna Mitinian Diakov (CRC) 63.2000, 30. Davida Bonanno (MLT) 62.4668, 31. Gracie Foster (BAR) 59.8332, 32. Helena Eliasson (ISL) 56.5000.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik

Team Preliminary – Free Routine

1. RUS (Violetta Evenko, Daria Kirsanova, Polina Lartseva, Diana Mirgazizova, Daria Ogorodnikova, Aleksandra Prudius, Anna Sokolova, Eva Zelenko, Allia Akhmetzianova – R, Alena Bakai – R, Lyaysyan Mustafina – R, Viktoriia Rodionycheva - R) 86.4332
2. UKR (Valeriia Hryhorova, Sofiia Sereda, Anastasiia Shmonina, Anastasiia Soldatenkova, Alisa Sopelnyak, Valeriya Tyschenko, Inha Valkova, Anna Yefimova, Sofiia Matsiievska – R, Arina Shtepliuk – R) 85.3000
3. CHN (Yutong An, Siyuan Chen, Siyi Chen, Yuxin He, Wangxuanjing Qiao, Huiyan Xu, Feixue Yan, Xuaoyou Zhang, Yuxing Wang, Nike Yang) 83.4000
4. ESP (Claudia C.Ballero, Regina Casino, Aitana Crespo, Mercedez Diaz, Alba Garcia, Marina Garcia, Carolina Lassaletta, Valeria Parra, Carmen Beato – R, Clara Lamagrande – R) 83.1668
5. JPN (Umi Awaihara, Moka Fujii, Yumika Inatomi, Kokoro Mikami,Kiyono Nakaita, Hiyori Okano, Ayano Shimada, Natsuha Taneda, Sakurako Uchida, Wakaba Nishimura – R, Reona Shigeyama – R) 81.4668
6. ITA (Arianna di Lecce, Benedetta Gianazza, Alessia Machhi, Vittoria Meucci, Matilde Neri, Susanna Pedotti, Beatrice Petta, Aurora Puccianti, Alessia Austranti – R, Georgia Caprasecca – R, Giorgia Macino – R) 80.9668
7. GRE (Aikaterini Bekou, Vagia Stavroula Eleni, Konstantina Filenta, Eleni Fragkaki, Krystalenia Gialama, Zoi Karangelou, Maria Karapanagiotou, Ifigeneia Krommydaki, Konstantina Angelopoulou – R, Georgia Zotali – R) 79.7332
8. KAZ (Yelizaveta Lepikhova, Arina Myasnikova, Emma Pashkovskaya, Anna Pavletsova, Arina Pushkina, Yuliya Rogaleva, Yasmin Tuyakova, Darina Valiullina, Karolina Ivanova - R, Yana Shevchenko – R) 79.3000
9. USA ( Yujin Chang, Ivy Davis, Emily Ding, Keana Hunter, Claire Kim, Riley Morgan, Atira Oneil, Ashlyn Wang, Megan Kerner – R, Alexis Mccracken – R) 77.1332
10. FRA (Maelys Callennec, Lalie Chassaigne, Juliette Dapoigny, Louisiane Derenne, Shirine Guermoud, Emma Haloija, Oriane Jallardon, Romane Lunel, Nayla Amara – R, Ambre Lesurtel – R) 77.0000
11. CAN (Elizabeth Battista, Jeanne Boilard, Leonie Corbeil, Mya Fortin, Tara Goettisheim, Charlotte Gray, Meaghan Lapierre, Jonnie Newman, Lauren Irvine- R, Yijia Liu – R) 76.8000
12. SUI (Soraya Banz, Jessica Jutz, Milla Morel, Sfie Muntener, Alice Ponsar, Gaia Rasmussen, Anna Tary, Shirley Zahnd, Morgana Cristofori – R, Clara Sonney – R) 76.2332
13. BLR (Neli Kaburneyeva, Lizaveta Kasouskaya, Ksenia Lebedzeva, Anastasia Liplianina, valeryia Puz, Valeryia Shymanskaya, Khrystsina Zhyhalka, Aliaksandra Petrachenka – R, Palina Zmiyeuskaya – R) 75.5668
14. SVK (Ema Bartolcicova, Hana Bartolcicova, Nicol Dyky, Chiara Diky, laura Domcekova, Tereza Durisova, Karoline Athene Floreanova, Linda McDonnell, Emily Rebecca Italy – R, Lenka Keprtova – R) 74.3332
15. CHI (Elisa Carrier, Soledad Garcia, Trinidad Garcia, Theodora Garrido, Camila Hernandez, Antonia Mella, Isidora Mendez, Josefa Morales, Valentina Valdivia – R, Rocio Vargas – R) 73.6000
16. KOR (Yoojung Choi, Yoonseo Hur, Jun Hyojeonh, Kim Hyunmyung, Choi Minkyung, Lee Seowoo, Choe Seoyeong, Cho Wumin) 73.2000
17. CZE (Marika Brabcova, Diana Cipova, Anna Cisarova, Anastazie Jarosova, Katerina Krecmerova, Julie Lewczyszynova, Nela Perinova, Dominika Svetlikova, Isabelle Neuschlova – R, Julia Svajda – R, Eva Trubkova – R) 73.0668
18. GER (Klara Bleyer, Nicole Davidovich, Denise Deisner, Mia Emilia Duda-Dudynska, Jazz Lausch, Romia Martin, Cindy Martins, Susana Rovner, Maria Theresa Sanchez Torres – R) 72.0332
19. HUN (Nike Barta, Mirtill Csarnai, Hanna Hatala, Lilla Jazzmin Illes, Eniko Illes, Borbala Kisteleki, Emilia Kozma, Zsofia Szalkay, Alexandra Bankuti – R, Eniko Kozari – R) 71.3668
20. EGY (Amina Ahmed Ezzat Elfeky, Sondos Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed, Miriam Ahmed Yosry Mohamed Mahmoud, Farida Amr Ahmed Abdelbary, Maryam Mohamed Hassan Maghraby Abdalla, Salma Tarek Awad Ali Marei, Malak Tarek Mohamed Zaki Elkafoury, Nadine Wissam Armia Bar Soum, Malak Akram Ibrahim Habesha – R, Mayar Khaled Ahmed Abdalla – R) 70.7668
21. GBR (Olivia Baker, Eleanor Blinkhorn, Tilly Budd, Beatrice Crass, Robyn Swatman, Libby Taylor, Alexandra Thickett, Lilly Todd, Laurel Allen - R, Evie Walker – R) 70.2332
22. TUR (Alara Aker, Duru Bilge, Ilgaz Mai Demir, cansin Kutucoglu, Nil Deniz Senturk, Nik Talu, Maya teser, Dila Yildiz, Melissa Oncel – R) 68.6668
23. AUS (Anneke Bak, Georgia Brown, Zoe Hewson, Margo Joseph, Anastasia Kusmawan, Zoe Poulis, Charlotte Smith, Chantelle Wheatley, Bianca Chira – R, Lena Pedersen – R) 67.8332
24. POL ( Julia Berger, Dominika Herich, Maja Kalisz, Martyna Paulinska, Oliwia Smektala, Martyna Wojcik, Lena Zadorozna, Hanna Zarzycka, Jagoda Bzdega – R) 67.7000
25. SGP (Yi Xian Petra Chiamg, Jiaxuan Annabelle Gong, Su Myat Naing, Eleanor Yu Wei Quah, Yue Tong Royce Soh, Claire Wen Yen Tan, En Xin Emma Tang, Sandra Sen-Li Tay, Rae-Anne Ong – R, Caitlyn Anne Tan – R) 66.4668
26. RSA (Kaitlyn Doms, Arny Gluckman, Mbali Hlope, Skye MacDonald, Teagan Moffat, Xera Vegter Maharajh, Casey Williams, Fenella Wyly, Kathleen Jarvis – R, Tiffany Mather – R, Siphokazi Myende – R) 60.6332
27. CRC (Maria Paula Alfaro Salazar, Priscilla Barboza Alpizar, Maria Paz Castro Lopez Sofia Iturrino Venegas, Jimena Lizano Paniagua, Anna Mininian Diakov, Valeria Quiros Aguello, Jimena Solano Vega) 58.5668